A critical vulnerability, identified as CVE-2023-43641, has been discovered in the open-source libcue library, posing a security risk to Linux systems running the popular GNOME desktop environment. Libcue, designed for parsing cue sheet files, is integrated into the Tracker Miners file metadata indexer, which is included in recent GNOME versions.
Attackers can exploit this flaw by tricking users into downloading a maliciously crafted .CUE file, which, when stored in the ~/Downloads folder, can trigger memory corruption when automatically processed by Tracker Miners during indexing. This vulnerability effectively allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected GNOME Linux devices.
GitHub security researcher Kevin Backhouse, who detected the bug, highlighted the severity of the issue, stating that it can lead to “1-click RCE” due to its exploitation by tracker-miners. Users of GNOME are strongly advised to update their systems promptly to mitigate the risk. Backhouse demonstrated a proof-of-concept exploit but postponed its release to provide time for GNOME users to secure their systems.
While the proof-of-concept exploit requires adjustments for different Linux distributions, it has been reported to work reliably on platforms such as Ubuntu 23.04 and Fedora 38. Backhouse believes that all distributions running GNOME are potentially vulnerable.
Admins are recommended to patch their systems and take measures to safeguard against this security flaw, as successful exploitation could lead to code execution on Linux devices running the latest releases of widely used distributions, including Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu. Notably, Backhouse has uncovered other critical Linux security vulnerabilities in recent years, underscoring the importance of maintaining strong cybersecurity practices in the open-source community.